Google to introduce Mute option to its ads - Are the advertisers aware?

Over the past year the number of “remarketing” ads has exploded. These ads are served to you based on web sites you’ve previously visited. It may seem a bit weird to some people to see ads for web sites they’ve visited show up on unrelated sites.

Google is now adding a new feature to its Display Network, letting users hit an ‘X’ so as to discard or simply ‘mute’ any of the currently-displaying ads. The search engine giant states it will employ the signal as a way of delivering more relevant ads. Once a user opts to mutes a certain ad, one will no longer see it from that particular campaign.

The person gets a confirmation that will lead them to Ads Preferences manager, where he or she can further fine-tune the Google profile. The feedback this gives will also help Google improve its ads over time. The new feature is especially useful for those who are wary of retargeting and remarketing campaigns, feeling that certain ads tend to ‘follow’ them.

According to the announcement on the Google blog, "The muting is not a 100% guarantee you won't see that ad again as a consumer -- for example, the same ad could be shown by a different ad company, or the marketer could run a separate campaign targeting specific web content. But we believe it's an early step in the right direction of giving users control over ads, while helping marketers and websites deliver ads that perform better."

Google's choice of words is not very precise. Muting generally refers to audio made inaudible; it can be applied to the visual realm, but muted colors remain present in a less vibrant shade, unlike muted sounds or muted ads.

This new feature is beneficial for both web users and advertisers. Advertisers pay to show these remarketed ads, and if a web surfer clicks the mute button then the advertisers won’t keep paying to serve an ad to someone who’s not going to buy.

“Advertisers are no longer paying to show ads to people who aren’t interested; and publishers will receive better performing (and potentially more valuable) ads.”, says Michael Aiello, Product Manager from Google.

Meanwhile, to give users greater control over display ads, the search engine has launched the new Flexible reach targeting setting on its Display Network tab. Google has recently introduced the new interface in AdWords aimed at making display buying more efficient and easier by combining targeting, bidding as well as optimizing in one place.

Soon the Networks & devices section of the Settings tab in AdWords will incorporate a new targeting option known as ‘Flexible reach’. It will enable people to fine-tune where their ads show by selecting the settings right at the ad group level rather than of the campaign level. The idea is to give them more control over where the ads appear and who gets to see them.

Google will not provide any data on ‘muted ads’ to advertisers, but if the situation calls for it they will consider doing so in future. This new feature is already started rolling out, but only with remarketing and interest based ads.

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